The «Occupy Wall Street» crusade tried to rouse America to help left-out «little people» and average folks – the 99 percent, not the elite 1 percent – but that movement mostly fizzled.
Now a new campaign is afoot. It’s called «Moral Monday» and it indicts Republican-controlled southern states that reject compassionate programs – for instance, refusal to provide health care for millions under Medicaid expansion allowed by the Affordable Care Act.
Protests and civil disobedience are hitting right-wing legislatures and governor offices. Protesters unfurl banners and stage sit-ins until they are hauled to jail by police. Their numbers often are small, but they draw headlines that spotlight the cruelty of denying medical care for lower-income families.
When GOP leaders won’t expand Medicaid, it’s heartless. The expansion costs states almost nothing, yet it provides merciful coverage for the «working poor» who lack health insurance. Thank heaven, Gov. Tomblin accepted this humane strategy for West Virginia.
This week, 40 «Moral Monday» protesters were arrested in Atlanta because they held «Expand Medicaid Now» banners in the state Senate chamber and sat on the floor to block entrance to the governor’s office.
«The South belongs to the right-wing,» protester Ray Strother told The New York Times. «Moral Monday was just born out of frustration.»
Protester Shayna Adelman added: «We have people dying every day just because they don’t have access to health care. It’s morally repugnant to me.»
Georgia Republicans sneer at the protesters. Sen. Thom Goolsby called the effort «Moron Monday.» GOP state chairman Claude Pope said the pickets have a «fringe liberal agenda.» Sen. Frank Ginn called the protesters «fecal matter.»
The Moral Monday crusade originated in North Carolina, where 1,000 activists were arrested last year for civil disobedience at the capitol in Raleigh. Last month, a major rally there drew 80,000.
The effort is spreading to other Dixie states. In South Carolina, it’s called «Truthful Tuesday.»
Will this struggle fade, as «Occupy» did? We hope not. We agree with former Assistant Secretary of State Hodding Carter III, now a University of North Carolina professor, who urged the humanitarian pickets to «keep sounding the bugle.»